The Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST) has maintained that it is the sole owner of stamps and as such the N50 stamp duty being collected by the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) should be paid directly to the service.
Chairman of the NIPOST, Maimuna Yaya-Abubakar, who reiterated this position in Abuja during a virtual colloquium to mark the 2020 World Post Day ceremony on Thursday, explained that there is no confusion between stamp and duty.
Abubakar, while responding to a question from a participant at the virtual event, stressed that the service is not collecting duty but backed by Act of parliament to collect the stamp duty since it is denoted by the stamp.
She explained: “Difference between stamp duty and postage stamp duty, to me, I will tell you that it is one and the same. Do you know why I said stamp duty and postage stamp are the same? Why is the word ‘stamp’ mentioned in the words ‘stamp duty’? That is the first question we should all ask ourselves.
“If you can remember back then, there were stamps that were attached to revenues. Going by the Act, as a lawyer, let me bring some legalities into these issues. It is said that duty should be denoted with a stamp. So, what is being practised, maybe because before then, the minimum stamp value was not N50, so, the duty should be denoted with a stamp.”
NIPOST had earlier accused the FIRS of stealing its mandate, which, according to her, is responsible for assessing, collecting and accounting for tax accruing to the Federal Government.
The feud reached its peak when FIRS also fired back that stamp duty is different from a postage stamp.
But, speaking further at the event, the chairman clarified that the stamp duty which NIPOST had been collecting since its establishment is like currency and managing its value is the sole responsibility of the service.
Abubakar insisted: “NIPOST is not charging duty, it is the sole owner of stamps. I mean stamps are owned by NIPOST. What I will like to bring our attention to is that stamp is minted. It is like a currency, every country has two forms of currency, and usually, Nigeria has the Naira and the stamp. The stamp has value. It is minted not printed.
“So, NIPOST is the sole owner of stamps. Whosoever, whenever you want to pay your due to FIRS or to any organisation, I think that duty, since it is provided in the Act that it should be denoted with a stamp, it should be denoted with a N50 NIPOST stamp. I don’t even understand the confusion in this. There is no confusion between duty and stamp.
“Stamp is the NIPOST product that should be used in denoting duty. So, when duty is paid, it should be denoted with a stamp. That is it! It is as simple as that. Since the NIPOST is the owner of the stamp, I guess the stamp should be meant for NIPOST to denote duty.”
Earlier, the Post-Master General of the Federation and CEO of NIPOST, Dr Ismail Adebayo Adewusi, had reeled out how the service is being repackaged to fit the age of digital technology.
According to him, NIPOST is rendering social service to Nigerians in the area of logistics transfer as well as deepening financial inclusion unlike many banks in the country.
He said: “Digital substitution of traditional Postal services is accelerating as both consumers and businesses adopt changes in digital processes across multiple domains.
“In the conditions of the digital economy, we realised that the postal service needs to modernise its role to accommodate the digital age, postal operators, often offer new products and services that reflect the evolving mandate to bind the nations together in a new world where people are increasingly communicating digitally.”
Adewusi also disclosed that NIPOST is working hand-in-hand with the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) to make its over 1,000 outlets across the country functional with a view to providing e-governance services.
The guest lecturer, Dr Asuquo Abianga, who is the Director of the Postal Institute of Nigeria, reeled out the new areas of interests where NIPOST can play crucial roles under the new age of technology.